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Vermont Colleges

Vermont Colleges

 

Vermont is considered by many to be one of the original thirteen colonies, but its history is a little more complicated than that.  It is the only New England state with no outlet to the Atlantic Ocean; instead, it borders on Lake Champlain.  The lake runs up into Canada and was a principal transportation resource during the French and Indian Wars when Britain controlled the area.  Some of the first construction in the area can be attributed to British military outposts for protection from French and Indian raids, such as Fort Ticonderoga at the lakeís southern end.

 

Vermont was considered part of the colony of New Hampshire for a time, although there was conflict between settlers from New York and settlers from New Hampshire as to whose territory it was.  Vermont became the 14th state in the Union, fourteen years after the end of the Revolutionary War. 

 

The state retains its rural character for the most part.  It is a state of hills and mountains, notably the Green Mountain Range in the central part of the state.  The hilly terrain and rocky soil made agriculture a difficult proposition for many of the early settlers, and it has always been a state of small farms.  Dairy production became for many the alternative to raising crops in the thin soil and short growing season.  Apples have proven to be an exception and are a principal Vermont crop today.  Some of the rock underlying the soil proved to be granite; the state has been a primary source for granite and marble in this country for one hundred fifty years.

 

Tourism is proving to be the most reliable and bountiful industry for many Vermonters.  The Green Mountains have yielded a number of prime skiing areas and the resorts there draw legions of winter visitors.  The fall is a time for driving through the state to pick some apples and look at the fiery change of color that the tree leaves undergo at winterís onset.  During the summer, there are a number of lakes and mountain redoubts that easterners seek out for relief from urban humidity.  Lake Champlain is a popular summer spot up and down the length of the state.

 

Burlington is the principal city in the state, a regional financial center located on Lake Champlain in Vermontís northeastern portion.  It is not a terribly long drive to Montreal from Burlington and many northern Vermonters make that trek on a periodic basis.  Burlington at one time had an important textile industry, but that has declined.  Manufacturing of machine tools and precision machinery is an important component of the areaís commercial output.  The state has substantial forest land and there are still lumber and pulp mills operating there, although the old growth forests are long gone.  Maple syrup, apples and dairy products are the principal agricultural exports.

 

In the southern portion of the state, Manchester and Bennington are cities of substantial size (by Vermont standards).  Southern Vermont is an important retreat for the urbanites from Massachusetts and Manchester provides much of the commercial support for the villages in the area.  Bennington is home to one of the areaís expensive, progressive and highly creative colleges.  Goddard is another such school, further north in Plainfield Vermont.  The University of Vermont is in Burlington.  Tuition for Vermont residents is about $5,000 per semester; for non-residents nearly $12,000 per semester.

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